Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne threaten to take other F1 teams with them if they decide to leave the sport

The future of F1 remains uncertain as Ferrari try to push back against Liberty Media's proposed plans for engine regulations

Sergio Marchionne has warned F1 that Ferrari could take other teams with it if they leave the sport
Sergio Marchionne has warned F1 that Ferrari could take other teams with it if they leave the sport

Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne has fired a warning at Formula 1 bosses that the team could lead others out of the sport if it becomes too much like Nascar, with the direction change planned under Liberty Media still threatening the future of F1.

The Italian manufacturer has made their unhappiness with the proposed rule changes from 2021 abundantly clear in recent weeks, with Marchionne warning that Ferrari are willing to consider leaving F1 if the engine rules mean the sport no longer fits with their long-term plan.

Marchionne reiterated this point when speaking to reporters in Maranello ahead of the team’s Christmas lunch, but for the first time under the current talks he also warned that Ferrari could also talk other teams into leaving with them to form a new breakaway series.

“We are not interested in making cars all the same and simple and cheap engines like Nascar,” Marchionne said. “If anything, the real problem is that there is no overtaking and F1 needs more exciting races.

“Otherwise Ferrari will leave. If they believe that we are bluffing, they are playing with fire.”

He added: “I think that Ferrari has the strength to drag others as well to an alternative championship.”

Marchionne referenced F1’s managing director Ross Brawn, who is leading the proposed changes, saying he felt that his past in the sport as one of the great strategists – and the man behind Michael Schumacher’s seven world championships as well as Jenson Button’s triumph in 2009 – meant that he should stick to the traditions of F1 and not take it down a different path.

“The thing that most annoys me is that there is an experienced man like Ross Brawn there who is looking for ways that go against the DNA of Formula One,” Marchionne added.

“Making cars all the same with simpler and cheaper engines is like NASCAR, it doesn’t interest us,” he added. “We need to find a balanced solution for the future that satisfies everyone and I think we will do it in time.”

Marchionne has put pressure on Brawn to retain F1's 'DNA'

Marchionne’s latest comments will be of concern for F1 bosses given the importance of maintaining manufacturer interest in F1 when the rapidly-expanding Formula E is attracting more and more big names of the car world by the season. With drivers also expressing their concern about the direction of the sport, the pressure is firmly on Brawn and Liberty Media to ensure the next partnership with the teams – as chief executive Chase Carey referred to it in a move away from the Concorde Agreement – is one that rejuvenates the on-track action to keep the leading teams interested.

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